Sex ed for teenagers is a famously knotty subject, which explains why Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman, wants to eschew sex ed classes in favor of literature courses. “It is unacceptable to allow things that could corrupt children,” he said in a television interview. “The best sex education that exists is Russian literature.” (No word yet on what he thinks of Crime and Punishment.) (h/t The Paris Review)
“Not long ago The New York Times featured a story about a Brazilian motel for dogs—to promote amorous canine liasons—that also sold nonalcoholic dog beer, had a Japanese ofuro soaking tub, and lots of branded dog apparel.” The current state of man’s best friend.
Over at Catapult, Benjamin Wood writes about his eulogy for his grandfather, which led to his writing of The Ecliptic. As he puts it, “Or maybe, in this time of grieving, I was thinking only with my heart until my head began to listen. Today, it seems as though the entirety of The Ecliptic was held within my consciousness before I ever glimpsed a piece of it, and grief was what enabled me to notice.” Pair with Nagihan Haliloğlu’s Millions review of the novel.
“Reading is a type of reckoning with the self. That may sound like a simplistic platitude, but platitudes exist only because they are true, our self-serving intellectual mirrors be damned.” Cher Tan shares a lifetime’s reading history with Catapult, tracing her trajectory from “[k]eeping up with the boys” during high school to this past year, in which she made a personal pact to read only books written by people of color. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone in conversation with six authors on their childhood reading.
Recommended Reading: Nathan Scott McNamara writes for The Atlantic on why we need indie publishers. “Eighty percent of U.S. books are produced by the Big Five publishers, but with each passing year—and with a stable small number of annual releases—independent presses are earning more of the literary conversation, gaining frequent articles and reviews in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and more.” You could also read Rebecca J. Novelli’s thoughts on Roberto Calasso’s The Art of the Publisher.
George Saunders delivered a little publicized convocation at Syracuse University this year. His main advice to the class of 2013 — be kind. “And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE,” he said.